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A crazy stress strategy

May 22, 2011

a not so crazy stress strategy

After a hard day at work, nothing beats relaxing in front of the TV with a cold drink. One evening there was a piece on FOX news about a middle-aged man who walked out on his mortgage payment.  He was so angry at the bank that he drove his F-250 pick-up truck right through his home, leaving it a splintered shambles of ruptured drywall, pieces of two-by-fours, and broken plumbing fixtures.

That’ll teach them!” you say,” raising your tumbler of vodka and tonic like a victory torch.

Watching the evening news and pounding down alcoholic beverages are not the best way to deal with stress. It feels great to laugh at the guy who smashed his house, but deep inside you know you don’t want to go there. Well, the show is over, and you need to do something now.

I searched numerous sources. Here’s what should keep you from smashing something:

  1. Music: start with your favorite, although some studies push classical.
  2. Breathing: 1 minute of slow, deep breathing gets oxygen to your brain and relaxes muscles.
  3. Tea: it’s more than a tradition. It has an amino acid, theanine, that seems to lower stress.
  4. Comedy: it’s proven. Switch FOX news over to an old Monty Python, or whatever makes you laugh.
  5. Socialize: call a friend who can listen in or even make you forget about it. Or, take some alone time.
  6. Exercise: not in the mood for the gym? Go for a walk, anything physical that gets your blood flowing.
  7. Drink: going beyond the limit (studies say 2) can make you feel like that guy in his pick-up truck.

Long-term strategies require lifestyle changes. This is where the big controversies come in, because despite the advertising there’s no single program that works for everyone:

  • Medications: meds for anxiety, insomnia, or depression are better than stress-drinking or street drugs. Confront your doctor about it.
  • Testosterone: Get your level checked, and even if it’s normal some doctors will still treat the symptoms of “low T” with prescription injections or gels. Later I’ll do a whole post on this.
  • Managing job stress: this goes far beyond a blog post. Send me a comment if you want some resources.
  • Healthy diet and regular exercise: obvious, and the most talked about lifestyle changes for stress management.

For further reading:

Chronic stress contributes to early death in middle age men. Let me know if you want more information about a specific topic in this critical area. We can save lives!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2011 3:37 pm

    How about treating deeper aspect, spiritual part? If we could see things from higher level of viewpoints, not just from localized or physical viewpoints, we might be able to deal with the cause of the stress differently?

    • May 26, 2011 6:51 pm

      That’s a great idea. I have links that show how western medicine has proved the usefulness of prayer and meditation to help improve people’s chronic health conditions. And I’ve invited a spiritual expert to do a guest blog post.

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